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Feature Destination: Borneo

Borneo is one of our favourite destinations here at MyHoliday2 so read on to learn just why we love this island nation in the Malay Archipelago so much!

Borneo is an incredible place and we would urge everyone to visit – it’s not only home to some of the oldest rainforest and most impressive wildlife on the planet, in Malaysian Borneo you’ll find one of South East Asia’s highest mountains and some fascinating colonial and WW2 history as well!

Borneo is one of those rare places where you can sense the adventure in the air, just waiting to be explored. The third largest island in the world is paradise for anyone who has a love for plants, wildlife, and adventure.

The island of Borneo is divided among Malaysia, Indonesia, and the small, independent nation of Brunei. The Indonesian part of Borneo, known as Kalimantan, covers about 73 percent of the island, while Malaysian Borneo occupies the rest along the northern edge, along with tiny Brunei.

Malaysian Borneo has two states, Sarawak and Sabah, that are separated by Brunei. Sarawak’s capital of Kuching and Sabah’s capital of Kota Kinabalu are the usual entry points; the two cities act as bases for exploring Borneo’s wild attractions.

ORANGUTANS

Borneo is one of two places on Earth where endangered orang utans can still be seen in the wild. Orang utans are among the smartest primates, they make medicine, craft tools and even exchange gifts.

Unfortunately, because of habitat loss caused by massive palm oil plantations, orang-utan numbers are dwindling. 

The Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre in East Sabah is the most popular place to view orang-utans in Borneo along with  the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre just outside of Kuching in Sarawak  which is usually the  less crowded of the two.

While there are never any guarantees when it comes to wildlife viewing, you have a good chance of seeing semi-wild orang-utans at both refuges during feeding times.

Alternatively, you can chance a real orang-utan encounter in the wild by taking a river cruise along the Kinabatangan River.

DISCOVER THE RAINFOREST

Opened in 2006, the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sabah is a world-renowned environmental education centre.

Visitors can explore a fantastic array of plants, insects, and animals found in Borneo’s rainforests. After touring the botanical gardens and education centre, visitors can then apply their new knowledge while trekking along the many trails nearby.

An exhilarating canopy walk elevates visitors above the dense trees where they can spot rare birds and sometimes orang utans.

SEE EXOTIC WILDLIFE ON THE KINABATANGAN RIVER

Although the name is a mouthful, the Kinabatangan River area in Sabah is often the favourite highlight for visitors to Malaysian Borneo.

A quiet approach by boat allows visitors the opportunity to spot highly endangered proboscis monkeys, orang-utans, crocodiles, pythons, and elephants when they are in season. 

The Kinabatangan River Sanctuary is also home to pygmy elephants and rhinoceros, but seeing them requires a lot of luck. The best time to visit this area is during the dry season from the end of March through to the start of October. 

STAY IN A LONGHOUSE

Visitors to Sarawak can visit and stay in an Iban longhouse to see how the indigenous population live. While some longhouses are strictly tourist experiences, it is possible to see authentic ones only accessible by river and far removed from city life. You’ll get to sample authentic food, see a traditional dance performance, and learn to shoot a blowpipe gun just for fun.

DISCOVER TURTLE ISLAND

Turtle Island Park lies 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea and consists of three islands – Selingan, Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan islands. Turtle Island Park is famous for its green turtles and hawksbill turtles which lay their eggs on the beaches of the islands. Turtle Island Park is a safe haven in Sabah for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. The largest of the three islands, Selingan Island, is open to tourists to visit. Selingan Island often referred to as ‘Turtle Island’, has turtles visiting all year round to nest and lay eggs. As part of your stay on the island you will have the opportunity to watch baby hatchlings released into the wild and witness mother turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. 

KUNDASANG WAR MEMORIAL

Established in 1962, the Kundasang War Memorial was one of the first memorials to commemorate the brave Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan and during the infamous death marches to Ranau during World War II.

The memorial also remembers and honours the people of North Borneo who risked their lives to help the POWs.

The Memorial is made up of four beautiful gardens – the Australian Garden, the English Garden, the Borneo Garden and the Contemplation Garden and Pool – representing the different nationalities tastefully. With towering pine trees and blooming roses a walk in the gardens is reminiscent to that of a stroll in a quaint English garden. The scent of roses lingers in the air and the serene atmosphere makes the Kundasang War Memorial an ideal place to contemplate and remember the heroes of the war. 

This list could go on and on! Borneo is famous for its natural wonders and biodiversity.  All of our MyHoliday2 tour partners and operators are committed to supporting local and ensuring the sustainability of eco tourism today and into the future!

We would love you to join us on tour and experience this natural wonderland for yourself – To peruse our assortment of Borneo tours click here

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